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Cleveland schools, teachers union reach tentative contract as budget deficit looms

Cleveland Metropolitan School District headquarters in Downtown Cleveland.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
CMSD and its teachers union announced they've reached a tentative contract agreement for the next fiscal year. The details have not yet been disclosed.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District and its teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

No details about the terms of the new contract were released Tuesday, but the district said it will present the particulars to the board of education and teachers by the end of the week, according to a media release announcing the deal.

The existing contract with the Cleveland Teachers Union expires June 30.

Representatives from both the union and the district touted the agreement Tuesday.

"This contract seeks to show members the respect they deserve, while helping us to retain current educators and recruit the best and brightest to educate Cleveland’s children,” Shari Obrenski, the president of the teachers union wrote in the release.

"This agreement not only represents a harmonious collaboration but also underscores our commitment to retaining and supporting our valued educators who are fundamental to achieving our mission," wrote CMSD CEO Warren Morgan. "When we ensure stability and foster a supportive environment for members of our teacher’s union, paraprofessionals, and nurses, we enhance our ability to provide quality education to the children of Cleveland."

Stability has been a question for the district after officials announced in February it was facing a budget deficit of at least $143 million for the next fiscal year.

The board of education approved a plan to reduce the district's budget by tens of millions of dollars over the next two years to plug the budget hole, including cuts to multiple pandemic relief-funded programs, including non-CMSD partner after-school programming, summer programming and cuts at the district's central office and to technology for students.

The board of education's plan did not deal with teacher salaries, which are negotiated with the union. In Cleveland, individual principals manage their own buildings' budgets and can make decisions about laying off teachers or not filling positions, according to Morgan. The district does not plan to increase building budgets. In February, the district had 175 open teacher positions, according to district officials.

Josh Boose is associate producer for newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.
Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.